The Link Between Bruxism & TMJ Disorder

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night guard

If you have persistent, unexplained headaches, there could be an issue with your jaw. More specifically, the problem could lie with the joints that connect your jaw to the base of your skull. When these joints become misaligned, it causes TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder. It can be very painful and exceedingly difficult to self-diagnose. This issue is bad, but it can also be tied to bruxism, which is consistent and often unconscious teeth grinding. Bruxism can require costly restorative and cosmetic procedures to fix when left untreated. To further complicate matters, bruxism can cause TMJ disorder, or TMJ can cause bruxism. Regardless of the cause, it is important to treat either issue as quickly as possible to prevent more damage. In today’s blog, your Prairie Village, KS prosthodontist discusses both disorders and their treatment options. 

Understanding Bruxism

Bruxism is persistent teeth grinding marked by you being unaware that you are doing it. It can happen during the day, at night, or both. It is frequently linked to stress, anxiety, and other environmental factors when it happens while you are awake. If it occurs while you are sleeping, there is a good chance TMJ Disorder is causing it. It is a particularly nefarious issue because those suffering from it typically do not know that they are grinding and clenching their teeth. By the time they are aware something is happening, the damage has already occurred, and they need treatment to fix their teeth.

The Connection WIth TMJ Disorder

TMJ Disorder is when your jaw joints become misaligned. It is especially painful because these joints are pretty much always in use, as they are responsible for speaking and chewing. It is difficult for them to heal when they are misaligned because they are frequently in motion. As mentioned earlier, TMJ can cause teeth to grind, and bruxism can cause your jaw to become unbalanced. Common symptoms include headaches, migraines, earaches, tinnitus, and even pain reaching down to your neck, shoulders, and lower back. Because it is so painful, you will want to treat it as soon as possible.

Simple Yet Effective Treatment

Luckily, these painful disorders have similar treatment options. For each, your oral health care professional can craft you a custom-made mouthguard to wear while you are asleep. The night guard will prevent your teeth from grinding and clenching together for bruxism. For TMJ Disorder, it will move your jaw into proper alignment, alleviating pain and stress on your jaw joints. Because these appliances are specifically made for your unique mouth and jaw, you will adjust to wearing them quickly.

Contact Us To Learn More About Bruxism And TMD

Whether you suffer from bruxism and TMJ Disorder or you have questions in general, we are here to help. You can schedule an appointment by contacting Dr. Stuart Dexter, Prosthodontist in Prairie Village, KS, by calling 913-362-8200.